As a former resident of SW11, I have frequented the eating and drinking establishments of Battersea for the past 4 years and seen the new openings, the closures and the havoc that is Albert Bridge being closed. However, never really have I seen a place that is so worth coming south of the river for. Bennetts Oyster Bar and Brasserie has very recently opened on the corner of Battersea Square, a square that in my opinion has so much potential but has never really taken off and always looks a bit lonely.
My mother is still living in ‘South Chelsea’ as some of her neighbours like to call it (what a joke!) and had invited my sister and I to a belated mother’s day supper last Saturday night. I was dying to see the new incarnation of this spot as she had already been once and was impressed, which means for the average layman like me I would be wowed. Having been a Londoner just north of half a century her local ‘canteen’ is Daphnes in Chelsea and she has a friends and family account at Le Caprice and The Ivy. I would never call her fussy, ahem, she just knows what she likes and what she most definitely does not like is bad food and bad service.
We instantly arrived to an impressive sized room split up into a long bar, high stool food bar and various seating areas-it was packed. There was a spattering of DILFS accompanied by glamorous women sipping champagne and necking oysters at the bar and all the tables were full of fortysomethings laughing and bopping along to the funky beats blasting from the sexy bose speakers.
We had a fun corner table where we were seated like an X factor judging panel overlooking the whole room. Our waiter was extremely friendly and infectiously happy and we were soon pouring over the vast Anglo-French menu of seafood, oysters, and home cooked mains. My mum went for 6 mixed Oysters to start, my sister safely ordered the smoked salmon and I had razor clams- I tried all three and was very impressed. The portions weren't huge but the flavours were interesting enough that this didn't matter, that and the fact I had ordered a substantial main course as the diet was starting on Monday naturally. My mum covered the oyster I tried in Tabasco sauce so the elegant throw back motion I was aiming for was less James Bond's vixen and more choking child sadly.
For mains my sister and I both opted for the fish pie and my mum had salmon-again big thumbs up all round. The food quality is very high and the ingredients fresh and well prepared so you feel like you are getting your money's worth. There is nothing worse than going to a 'smart' restaurant and leaving feeling rather ripped off wishing you had gone to your local Italian instead. This is not the case at Bennett's- the service was excellent, the food was very good and the atmosphere was great. Battersea might just be getting its groove back, more places like this please!
7-9 Battersea Square, Battersea Village, London SW11 3RA